“The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son” (I Peter 5:13).
Though Peter was married (Mark 1:30; I Corinthians 9:5), it is doubtful that Mark (Marcus) was Peter’s biological son. We learn in Acts 12:12 that Mark’s mother was Mary and that her house was in Jerusalem. (Peter was from Galilee.) Also, Paul describes Mark as Barnabas’ cousin in Colossians 4:10—not as Peter’s son. The word “son,” in our text, therefore, suggests affection and a spiritual relationship. Mark may have become a Christian under Peter’s ministry.
There are two very valuable lessons we can learn from Mark, however. First, he points others intensely to Christ. Many scholars are inclined to believe that the “young man” referred to in Mark 14:51 was the author himself. If true, then Mark chose only obliquely to refer to himself while focusing earnestly on the Lord Jesus. We see this right from the outset in his gospel. He describes that gospel in the very first verse as “the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Two verses later, Jesus is the Lord Jehovah whose way was prepared for by John, and Jesus is far greater than John (Mark 1:7). He is, in fact, God who alone can forgive sins (Mark 2:6–12).
A second lesson is that the Lord Jesus can use “losers.” John (Mark) deserted Paul and Barnabas during their missionary endeavors (Acts 13:13), and Paul later opposed bringing him along on a subsequent journey (Acts 15:37,38). The Lord Jesus, however, used Mark. He was the human author of the gospel that bears his name, and even the Apostle Paul eventually came to appreciate him (II Timothy 4:11).
We can thank the Lord for Mark when we read his gospel. To be sure, we should look beyond Mark to the Lord Himself who alone is worthy of all love, praise, affection, and devotion, but we can also be thankful that the Lord can use imperfect people like Mark and like us. PGH